Mac apps you didn't know you needed

I'm a bit of an iSheep. I didn't even know that term existed until a colleague used it on me a couple of years ago. But this is not an Apple vs. Windows (vs. Linux) post. I like my Mac, you might prefer your Windows or Linux machine - that's fine. This post focuses on Mac apps.

I've worked remotely for almost 3 years now - and the importance of little things starts showing. Those things that make my day easier, more pleasant, more productive. From the desk I sit at, to the editor I use, these things matter.

There's a certain magic to software that makes everyday work just a little more enjoyable and productive. Here's a list of apps that help me achieve just that.


There are few things in life I hate more than an Outlook notification 10 minutes before my next meeting. Especially in a remote setting. Yes, I want to know when the next meeting will take place - but without everything buzzing all the time. MeetinBar does just that. Your next meeting in your menu bar. When it's time - hit your shortcut, hit it, and you're there.


I like Apple's Calendar app (yeah, iSheep - I told you) - but during a workday, often, you just want to check a simple date. "Are you available on the 5th of July?", "What are you doing on week #34?". These are though questions. Itsycal answers all those, right in your menu bar, in a couple of clicks.


I still use Dropbox. It's not the best Cloud service, but it was the first I used. There's one thing I can't stand though- their Mac app - always trying to push the next big Dropbox thing on me, eating my RAM, or annoying me with pop ups. I just want file sync. Maestral is a lightweight and open source alternative client that does Dropbox file sync - and nothing more - without annoying me or eating my RAM. 100% open-source - what an app.


Who likes dealing with time zones? I certainly don't. 8AM in Copenhagen, it's 7AM in Lisbon, which in Singapore means...? I have no clue. Clocker solves just that. In a few clicks I can select a time, see what it corresponds to in other time zones, and copy all those to my clipboard. Done. No more timezone hell.


For years Spotlight search was good enough. Then I started using Alfred, which was pretty awesome. Now I use Raycast, which is even better. I think of it as Spotlight on steroids (I really hate that expression). I can find files super fast, access my clipboard history, search messages on Slack, search my Google Drive, tweet, check my schedule.. You get my point - go give it a shot.


Overcast is my favourite podcast app. When working at my desk - I listen to podcasts sometimes, especially if I'm doing something repetitive (e.g., bookkeeping for example). PodcastMenu puts Overcast right in my menu bar. I also syncs perfectly with the mobile version - so that I can keep listening my pods when I leave my place.


Someone sends me a bad scan of a document and there's a number I need to copy from it. There's a weird pdf that I need to copy a reference from. What do I do? I used to look at them one-by-one and copy them over. Now.. I just hit CMD+Shift+2 and this uses OCR for me to copy the text from it. This has saved me at least an hour of my life.


We agree. Windows management in MacOS is.. Lacking to say the least. For a long time, I used Spectacle to manage my windows, and I really liked it. Now that Spectacle is not in active development anymore, the predecessor seems to be Rectangle. A free and open-source option, which has served me very well, and I can definetly recommend.


OK, you don't exactly need this one. But I like to glance at my menu bar app to see my RAM, SSD, and CPU stats. Particularly if I'm doing something in the heavier side. Stats is a free and open source alternative to the popular iStat Menus - that sticks to the basics. It allows me to customize whatever I want to see in my menu bar and keep an eye on the state of my Mac.

Final thoughts

You'll notice that at least 7 out 9 applications I mentioned are free and open source. Not only that, but the developers are also regularly pushing updates and making these apps better every day. It's incredible how good a product of passion can become. This post is my way of thanking them for their awsome work. Don't forget to also support them.

April 12, 2022
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